Larry B. Butler
Serving the 72nd Assembly District
Legislative Office Building, Room 5001
Hartford, CT 06106-1591
Protecting Electric Consumers
This year, the legislature took steps to protect electric ratepayers. Now, when an electric provider is changing costs, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) must hold at least two public hearings, which will allow consumers to speak directly with the regulating authority. Connecticut residents are now protected from electricity providers who offer very low introductory rates that rapidly increase by these new requirements:
- Competitive electric suppliers must give customers a 60-day notice of the end of their contracts.
- Competitive electric suppliers cannot charge a termination or early cancellation fee and must allow customers who want to switch to standard service the ability to do so within 72 hours.
- A process will be established for PURA to further investigate and take measures to completely eliminate variable electric rates when a customer’s contract expires.
Cracking Down on Dirt Bikes and All-Terrain Vehicles
There has been growing concern about the improper use of dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles (ATV’s) in many municipalities. Complaints about speeding, extremely loud noise and trespassing on state and private property have led to a need to properly manage the use of these vehicles.
Beginning October 1st, municipalities may fine first-time violators of a dirt bike or ATV ordinance without providing an initial warning. Municipalities may set fines of up to $1,000 for the first violation, $1,500 for the second violation, and $2,000 for subsequent violations.
Student Loan Bill of Rights
Connecticut became the first state in the nation to create a Student Loan Bill of Rights, which establishes an Office of the Student Loan Ombudsman. This office will: regulate student loan servicers, compile data on borrower complaints, develop a financial literacy education course for students, and help student borrowers and their parents navigate the loan process.
Helping Residents of Subsidized Housing Move to Better Neighborhoods
Studies have shown that families moving from high-poverty areas to ones with more opportunities have a better chance at succeeding. It can often be difficult for families residing in low-income neighborhoods to move to a better community. As of October 1st the Department of Housing (DOH) will be required to create a residence mobility counseling program to assist those who receive housing subsidies with the relocation process. Participants will be provided with the necessary information for a smooth transition into an area with better job and education options and better environment overall.
Help for Our Veterans
This year, the legislature supported and advanced legislation that recognizes the important sacrifices that veterans have made while defending our country. A new law establishes the Veterans to Agriculture Program, which will give
a tax credit to veterans that have a gross income from agricultural production of over $2,500.
We also increased services for our female and college-going veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs will now be required to conduct benefits and services outreach for female veterans, and offer recommendations to the legislature on what types of service initiatives would be best for female veterans. Operation Academic Support for Incoming Service-members (OASIS) helps members of the Armed Services receive grants and scholarships to purchase necessary school supplies when enrolling in educational programs. A new law asks for a study of how our colleges could implement the best services and practices into the OASIS program. Connecticut is also proud to announce that it is the first in the nation to end veteran homelessness.